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San Francisco 4, Clifford Gilmore 2, Dan Jordan 2, Chinatown 2, The City 1, Mdc 1, United 1, Jessica 1, Marr 1, Joanna Fraguli 1, Central City 1, Tenant 1, Us 1, Secondly 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    December 3, 2012
    5:30 - 5:59am PST  

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that home work for their needs. a background on sros: three of them serve single adults, in the mission district. the central city sro collaborative represent people living in tenderloin and south of market. chinatown covers that part and part of north beach. also families united, a citywide collaborative that works with families with children below the age of 18 of which there are about 1000 families year in san francisco that live in these buildings. the way that the sro collaborative first started back in the 1990s, there was a
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rash of serious building fires. it affected sro buildings in the communities around. back as we heard earlier, a lot of these buildings were constructed soon after the 1906 earthquake, old housing stock. a lot of deferred maintenance. a lot were built before some of the more stringent housing codes were adopted. there are a lot of challenges to these buildings that exist. they are older; they were built at a time when they were small, even the hallways are small. back to the fire. sro collaborative were established as a response to these fires.
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focus on organizing the tenants and trying to come up with solutions to keep fires like this from happening. one of the main things that happened that people may be familiar with is the sprinkler ordinance. in san francisco a hotel room with more than 20 rooms is required have a comprehensive spritzer system in the rooms and throughout the building, and dramatically decreased the prevalence of fires. beyond that, sro collaboratives have worked on the uniform visitor policy; prior to that a lot of landlords and madison were limiting or denying the right to have overnight visitors as well as data on visitors. the uniform visitor policy is a compromise. they don't have the same amount of rights. they can have people overnight every night of the month but it
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is a compromise, it is a step in the right direction so that people can have visitors. previously, more recently we have worked closely with the department of public health in reforming some of the ways that that department and the city at large respond to complaints about bed bugs; it has become more prevalent. it has become a lot more of the issue as the media gives more attention to this. the city has adopted protocols to respond to this in a more timely manner. to get back to the report, the mission sro collaborative, senior action collaborative, we went out and we interviewed over 150 sro tenants who live
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in chinatown, mission, central city area, seniors, people with disabilities. we had a wide range of questions. it is focused on being a needs assessment. to see what sort of needs the population was facing so we could identify recommendations slowly work to implement those recommendations. we have a couple of other people who will speak about those things today. i will turn it over to jessica at this point to talk a little bit more about what the results of the report were and some of the recommendations that came out of that report. >> thank you. thanks so much to the council for having us here and thank you to joanna fraguli for coordinating this. it is exciting work.
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it is wonderful to get into it and we see a lot of potential for making positive changes. i will pick up where josh left us, talk about the survey and the results, and go through the series of recommendations leading to one civic recommendation that is now in legislation. the top concerns found in the survey were widespread, sadly. there were all kinds of problems.. people talk about a lot of different things. top concerns included personal safety, on a lot of levels. visitors were getting into the building when they shouldn't be, having interpersonal problems with other tenants, all kinds of other safety harassment issues. these are not in order. bedbugs and other infestations including roaches, rats, mice,
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an ongoing problem. bedbugs are being dealt with separately; a problem for from being solved. a problem we hear from sro tenants all the time. noise is another problem. cleanliness. physical maintenance. when i started doing housing work in san francisco a few months ago, somebody took me on a tour. i saw things lose, exposed wires, egregious maintenance problems. one specific the disability is a lack of maintenance to the elevators. in buildings with elevators, not all of them, they break down all the time.
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they don't get fixed regularly. some of them are old and are difficult to fix. housing conditions. health and safety conditions. violations of the visitor policy. harassment. from there i'm going to jump to the recommendations. i will explain what was found in the survey. that is where the recommendations came from. those of us at senior and disability action and the sro collaborative, if safety the major issue, what are some of the things that can be done in the short term and long term? looking at the problems coming up with a series of recommendations. enforcement.
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a lot of this is about the contract. a lot of sro rooms are subsidized the city tax dollars. i know you heard over the last couple of months from the department of public health, healthy human agencies, and nonprofits that work with those that place people in sros. we want to look at the contracts. anytime city tax dollars are used to place a senior or a person with a disability into an sro room, that there are safeguards. the property manager, landlord of that building is required to say that yes, in return for getting tax dollars, i will make sure that there are no bedbugs and things are maintained properly. that things are safe. all the basics that we all expect. we are thinking of getting them into the contract is one way to do that.
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that is something we are working on. we welcome other ideas and assistance on that. having bph and sha in the last couple of months is a good opportunity to connect with them. and the thing about how we can do that in the contract. we are also looking at the enforcement structure, department of building inspection and the department of health. the policies and procedures when they get a call from tenant, or landlord saying there are roaches, for the elevator is broken and is not being prepared. the policy about coming out and what do they do to make sure the problem gets fixed. we are starting the process of working with those departments to make sure that the process is as efficient and responsive and timely as possible so that those things get fixed right away and making sure that seniors and people with disabilities are safe.
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and of those problems can come back right away. the fixes should be real and permanent. that was one of the recommendations. looking at the executive summary which is but has, a chart with recommendations that you can refer to as well. we had a bunch of new policies. i will come back to the first graph, legislation we are excited about. the next couple, having desk clerks at each sro. some already have them, 24-hrs., that let people in. we put this in the recommendations for safety, having someone they are who is monitoring and enforcing the uniform deserve policy to make sure people are allowed when they should be. and to let workers in.
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but to make sure that there are no other people to come in to sell drugs for example. we ran into complications about whether that is feasible. along with desk clerks, to put training curriculum for all sro staff. we want to make sure everybody is trained; someone knows about communication, and problem-solving so that when the issues come up the staff is well trained to address them. another recommendation was physical accessibility the maintenance of elevators or placing residents on the lower floors. someone with a disability or senior moves into an sro, they are not required to live on the
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ground floor but that is an option to make sure people are safe. oh sure, there is a room on the fourth floor but there is no elevator were people goes out and people are trapped. access to nutritious food. josh talked about how most rooms - no rooms have kitchens. some sros have a kitchen somewhere in the building or on the floor. there's a lot of problems with that. listen less than half of sro residents have access to kitchens. with 18% of respondents, 1 in 5 people say that they skip meals
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due to lack of resources or facilities. accommodation problems. they don't have money to buy food and no place to prepare affordable meals. we would like to see some work there. would also want more targeted outreach to seniors and adults with people with disabilities. there are other sros available that they will know about. also access the supporting services. and increase disaster planning for seniors and adults with disabilities. we had a set of long-term goals, but i won't go into much detail. here is what we think that we need something to make sure that seniors and people with disabilities and sros have what they need but are less clear on how to implement. those include the ability to form a tenant council, not
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attended by management so that people can speak freely. affordable housing for seniors and adults with disabilities, proposition c is a step in the direction. on-site staff that includes maintenance and janitorial the people are not waiting and trying to figure out who to talk to. individual locking mailboxes, so when someone gets a bill or a check they can get it safely. wellness check, or "i'm ok" door hangers. someone who want to participate, if a neighbor does not see that this is someone they can check on. there was a lot of information. now i will go into more detail
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on the legislation that we are proposing. in the recommendations, we suggested having grab bars in bathrooms. in the server we found that less than half of seniors and people with disabilities that we talked to reported having grab bars. not everyone is coming out and saying we need grab bars. people don't necessarily realize that is a problem until people fall. we know that is a major source of injury. in terms of the financial impact going back to the city to say look at the money we are spending on hospital bills on people who slip and falls when that can be prevented by having grab bars in bathrooms. that is one thing we want to work on, and working phone jack along with affordable telephone service.
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working phone jacks are required by state law; a residential hotel, tourist hotel is required to have that. pretend that i did not say that. in sros, every room is required have a working phone jack. people are dealing with a lot of isolation. i mentioned people with disabilities who may be in the room where it is hard to get out. the staircase to be rickety. the elevator may be broken. there's a myriad of problems where people can be stranded in the room. phone jacks are one way that people can connect with the outside world. even if they're not physically stranded, to be able to call a friend, to connect with the neighbors, to set up a doctors appointment, critical for seniors and people with
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disabilities. for everyone to have a working phone jack. they are not being enforced. there issues with the department of building enforcement. we have recently introduced into the board of supervisors legislation that requires working phone jacks and grab bars in sros. supervisor marr introduced legislation that about two three weeks ago. they were very excited about this happening moving forward, getting a lot of support an interest. we have a handful of supervisors that have agreed to cosponsor. right now the bill is in the process of being amended in going through some committees with the department of building inspection. most likely around january, maybe february, it will go to
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the land use committee. what the bill says, in more detail, we mentioned that state code moves into city code as well. water closets, bathing facilities, another place incredibly important to keep people safe. we recognized early on that it is not easy to say for the grab bar in the bathroom. some sros were built in 1911; you have tiny rooms, a window or door where the grab bar would go. or put it on the side and
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people don't have space to get out of the bathroom. the mayor's office on disability has agreed to prepare a technical assistance guide. he are some of the common structures for bathrooms, common designs, and here's what you should do about grab bars. also the department of building inspection. buildings would have to file for a permit before they install a grab bar to make sure it is done properly, going into the wall, making sure the reinforcements are there. the end result is we want people to be safe. i will turn it over to clifford gilmore from the central city sro collaborative who will introduce of the tenant will talk about their experience living in sros.
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>> chair: does a working phone jack include data and voice line? make sure you include that in the legislation so it does not become an issue for a person with a disability. >> i'm glad you said that. i am embarrassed to say we have not talked about it. we will explore that right away. >> thank you. (off mic) >> my name is clifford gilmore. i and a community organizer with the central city sro collaborative; we are the community organizing department for -- housing clinic.
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the focus is to have this ability and tenant rights issues; our mission is to keep people housed and to have quality housing as well. our coverage area is south of market, there are 250 sros in that area. we have drop-in services; people can come and talk about living conditions and seek remedies for some of those issues. part of what we also do is outreach in the community. it is a natural thing for us to be part of the survey. on the campaign on seniors and people living with disabilities. i want to mention a couple of things quickly. we would like for you to consider going forward. many of the sros are not accessible. that is one thing.
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and buildings and floors that are accessible, the preference be provided to people who are seniors and people living with disabilities. it is an important issue for this population. and a needed will continue to evolve. secondly, people who come in after hours at issues. what we hear our complaint driven. that can be challenging for people who put in a complaint and want a quick resolution. we think it would be helpful to have short time line for complaints when there are building or health code issues. particular for seniors. this issues that affect seniors and people with disabilities
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are pressing needs that need immediate remedy. it is helpful to consider around this population and how they will be able to continue to live here. and have quality of life. and being able to have that experience. with that i would like to bring forward a couple of our leaders from our leadership program. dan jordan and steven tennis (sounds like). >> hello, i'm dan jordan, a peer counselor with the central city sro collaborative and i live in an sro hotel on 6th. this hotel like so many is a
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walk up. mine is a four floor building. i live on the top floor. there's a lady that uses a wheelchair and is virtually held prisoner in her home. she cannot get in and out of the hotel unless someone is willing to carry her wheelchair down the stairs and back up. there are many elderly people living in these hotels, aging, becoming disable with no way to get in and out. if they could find the hotel that is wheelchair accessible, most of the time they cannot afford it. my own hotel now is $800 a month. when i moved in it was $525. in social security you are getting about $900 a month.
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they're not affordable. we need to do something about accessibility throughout the building. and again, mine is not accessible to the restroom for people with disabilities. and we don't have anything like that, bars or anything to hold on to in the showers. we have tile floors which are extremely slippery when sopay wet. people do fall and get hurt. i myself have fallen. i also wound up calling an ambulance. many residents who have fallen have broken hips, legs, arms. something really needs to get done with this and this and this we can get it done the better off our seniors and disabled people are going to be. thank you. >> thank you
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>> good afternoon. my name is stephen tennis. you will have to excuse me . i am more than a little bit nervous now. i have been associated with sros for a little over 22 years. i volunteer at central city sro collaborative now and have the last three years. i live at the hotel on -- and have lived there for 9 years. i have been a tenant organizer for the last three years; recently i am the disaster preparedness organizer for central city. for the 22 odd years in sros, one thing that has always bothered me is that people with disabilities and seniors are on every single floor of the hotels.
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(indiscernible) there are two wheelchair accessible rooms in the fifth floor. i know something can be done. it should be done. if there could be some type of legislation introduced that would require all sros, if you have a disability you are on the first floor. start from the first floor, working up. rather than indiscriminately. we know it is after is going to hit san francisco. we know that. what we don't know is when. the sooner we can get people off the top floors and down a lot more lives will be saved. thank you very much. >> chair: thank you.
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does that conclude our presentation? >> thank you for letting me shed some light into the issues. i want to start the conversation through the chair as to how do you see the mdc joining your effort and helping out this issue? what would you like to see from us? >> (off mic) >> i do know some of you know but, he's taking over housing advocacy and senior disability issues. you will get to know him. tony was reminding me about
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the technical assistance guidelines. that is one way to work with the council and the mayor's disability council, putting together the technical assistance guide, thinking of the different situations that come up. we are trying to get some photos of the department of building inspection answer some of the collaborative to have an idea what those differences are. anyone in the room can say i have seen the room like this and this, what if we find a room like this? there are various suggestions. is it jewels, right? i should say chairperson. have we thought about --